On the 19th of June 1966, three beautiful Ford GT40s crossed the line at Le Mans in a pre-ordained victory formation which became one of the most evocative and iconic images in the history of motorsport.
But the result was intended to be orchestrated differently.
To provide strikingly visual proof of a dominant race, Ford decided to stage a publicity photo.The plan was to have the top three podium finishers (car numbers 1, 2, and 5, in that order) cross the line near one another to provide a photographic finish, depicting Ford's dominating race performance. Miles's number 1 car was leading until the drivers were told to close up for the finish. As it turned out Bruce McLaren's number 2 car crossed the finish line in first place and was declared the winner. It is rumored that Miles, upset about the team orders, allowed McLaren to finish ahead. Car number 5 finished close behind the other two Fords.
Controversy surrounds the finish of this race, suggesting that Ford #2 was given the win due to a detail of the Le Mans rules - namely that the #2 car qualified fourth (therefore starting further down the grid) and had therefore driven farther than the #1 car, even though they crossed the finish line nearly side-by-side. Film of the final lap of the race and photos of the finish show that Ford #2 car actually crossed the finish line first. The official Ford press release claimed:
"The McLaren-Amon and the Miles-Hulme cars were running within seconds of each other as the race neared its end, with the Bucknum-Hutcherson car hanging back as insurance. A decision was made in the Ford pits to have the cars finish side by side in what hopefully would be considered a dead heat. All three cars went over the finish in formation, but any chance for a dead heat disappeared when officials discovered a rule that in case of a tie, the car that had started further down the grid had traveled the farther distance. Since McLaren and Amon had started 60 feet behind Miles and Hulme, they were declared the winners. Both New Zealanders who now reside in England, it was the most important victory yet for the two youngsters. McLaren, who builds his own Formula and sports cars, is 28. Amon 22, is the youngest winner in the history of the event. It was a record shattering performance as the winning car covered more miles (3,009.3) at a faster speed (125.38 mph) than any previous entry."
Available in both a horizontal and vertical design aspect, Iconic Cloth's latest design celebrates this famous motor racing story (and the subsequent painstaking restoration of the race winning chassis P/1046) in two exclusive and complementary designs, featuring key aspects of the famous machine, from it's race number and the striking grey striped details, right down to the New Zealand fern leaf details on the front wings.
If you want to learn more, RK Motors have dedicated part of their website to the story of the car's life, culminating in their purchase and faithful restoration of the vehicle. Their website can be found HERE.
Need more to whet your appetite?! Why not watch the plethora of You Tube videos available? Here is one of the best:-
This premium brushed cotton product comes fully loaded with brand-bespoke details such as neck label, sleeve URL label and waist hem leatherette patch.
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